Key takeaways….


Bengal verdict is sound and clear. The highly intelligent voter has again proved, why she is the vanguard of democracy. The elections were made out to be bipolar. In reality it never was.

The punditry suggested that this time around, there will be a haddahaddi lorai, a fight to the finish.But the post 1967 tradition just had a new lease of life with the over the top majority for the TMC.

Here the equations of the alliance did not play out as expected. The so called political analyst had almost regarded the 39% Left-Congress voteshare erosion averse. It was assumed, that it is the TMC voteshare which is variable, not that of the alliance or tactical arrangement or whatever the name is.The punditry ruled out the point that voters in Bengal are no more servile.

The way the voteshare of the Left has gone down, with an almost written off BJP touching the double digit vote share, the index of opposition unity looks highly thwarted from place.

The same ‘analysts’ who concluded that the ascending BJP vote share in 2014 hurt the Left have been wronged. Rather, the ascending vote share of the BJP helped TMC lose Asansol, where Dola Sen was trounced by Babul Supriyo.

All the historic “hand in hand” gaffes to eloquently bat for the jot by ABP have proven to be out of place and severed from reality. The elections also show the media its place. 

Give news first, perhaps even views. But you are still a bit less important in my life than the Game of Thrones.

All the op ed pages and editorials have far lesser readership today than it had a couple of decades back. You may paint VYAPAM or SARADHA as corruption scandals, but it has zero impact if the voter at large is satisfied by governance.

Media lost the battle against Modi after 2002, the much hyped India Shining lost in 2004, the Ramnath Goenka dribble against the Congress perished in 1980. Overestimation of the power of the  prime time slot is perhaps born out of social media’s incessant political campaign.

But the tech savvy, fb or instagrammed generation is still a small puppy in comparison to the doughty, rural voter whose life gets improved by sops and freebies.

Economists living in opulent bungalows may point out at their undesirable effect on the economy, but they are surely desired by the villager in Samastipur suffering from nature’s fury. 

One caveat-these elections have proven leftism isn’t dead, it can’t be. Perhaps that’s why someone jokingly said on twiiter in February-Sitaram Yechury authored this year’s finance budget!

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Do dooni char


As we move slowly into the third year of Achche Din, the question of too many contradictions look to scratch Modi’s eventful reign. However, his personal report card should be a source of relief for a government carrying the liability as well as the responsibility of being a one man show-at least tangentially.

Controversies are a part and parcel of any government. In Modi’s case the issue is no different. The Vyapam and Lalitgate were talking points of every television news channel irrespective of national or regional variety about one year back.

It has not hurt the image of the Modi government or that of the Prime Minister himself. Unlike a nervous and fragile UPA II the government did not budge to the pressure that was being released by one group of the 4th estate and a highly inquisitive opposition.

Though the Prime Minister’s endeavours deserve credit, he has been unable to do a Vajpayee-make an extra effort to rope in the disgruntled elements. Besides, the tactical error has been to cede too much space to the Sangh Parivar. 

The FTII conundrum was highly avoidable with the government coming across as complicit and ambivalent. 

The issue of rewriting books based on the synonimity of hearsay stuff and tangible facts of history has made the educational policy more idiotic, mechanical and devoid of any logic.

However, even if the BJP has been losing elections and has made little headway in states where it never has had a solid ground, it is undeniable that the trust, but not hope on Modi is increasing every day. 

With the opposition more worried about the PM’s certificates, the people have already Made it clear that its trust will eventually lean upon Modi, who is still the 5 year long certified upholder of India’s tryst with destiny….

Lolita, ask ‘her’ to leave today


See I want to permanently return to Kolkata after 2 years. And if Didi is still the Chief Minister, I shudder to believe what will be the consequences. Bengalis are known to lateback, their dna is full of indolence but brains morphed with politics.

The intellectual class mostly believes she is unbearable. True she is. Though I necessarily never subscribe to the propaganda of the ABP- Mamata has creates her own pitfalls. 

Bengalis have a rich past, a rich present and a hopefully a bright future. But what if talented Bengalis help a Maharashtra or a Karnataka increase its GDP as their home state lie high and dry?

In a recent interview in an election rally in Kolkata, she was being quizzed by the NDTV triumvirate- Shekhar Gupta, Dorab Sopariwala and the Probashi thespian Prannoy Roy. There was no connect between the questions thrown and the answers given.

The situation appears morbidly grim as most political commentators are clueless about the choice of the voters this time around. There is no clear cut picture which has led Mamata lose her senses altogether.

A Chief Minister must at least show grace even if she fails to qualify as a bhadromohila by middle class standards. A question was asked about the prospects of the BJP in these elections. But she in return talked about the ‘nuisance'(a word she is in love with it seems as she repeated it half a dozen times) of the Election Commission and the BJP government at the centre.

She has always been whimsical- a reason why the educated middle class never took her seriously. A polemical view of her administrative skills while she was the Railways minister today has fallen flat on the face. Mention I must, the facade of her great administrative skills was a manufactured product of the media only.

Jobs cannot be created by the brethrens of extortionists, by the partners of those who believe in the departmentalazation of bribery- from the Chokdas to the top notch ministers.

She dreamt of making Kolkata, an alter ego of London. What in return she has given the city is the worst example of colonial slavery. A highly discernible copy of Big Ben stands near New Town. Madame Tussauds has opened its office in the city only to reincarnate the Chief Minister’s idol.

The Left-Congress will go down in history as an awkward pair who tried to re-establish what vulnerability and fear can do to political parties. But who knows this is the best chance Bengal has in its path of revival.

Bengal must own up the model thrown by South Indian states where anti incumbency becomes so extreme every 5 years that a poriborton seems imminent.

The myth that a government with a huge mandate can guarantee political stability has not stood the test of time. The Left till 2011 had quite a comfortable majority. But the 3.5 decades of left rule saw infinite political deaths which cannot be chroniclised factually.

Who knows perhaps, a government with a slender majority, with a tight noose will face the greater pressure to deliver. As Kerala according to many has achieved stupendous success under Chandy, because the Congress was just past the halfway mark in the Legislative Assembly.

Till then lets hope, the new government can arrest this brain drain- otherwise the student speacials to Pune or Hyderabad or Bengaluru will not stop.  

Modi’s tryst with the Media-a factual analysis


“Portrayal of negativity is fine. But optimism is the oxygen we require so much.”-a BJP sympathizer told me yesterday. The direct sources of communication which the Prime Minister employs to connect with the republic is not only a euphemism of articulated democracy, but it only shows how the view of Modi towards the media has only forged greater indigence and lesser empathy. The name of Modi got scuffled with controversies, as the inner party mechanism sabotaged him as a trouble maker within Gujarat in the initial 1990’s after the historic Rathyatra. Modi was packed off to the national capital where he resided along with other pracharaks and ate in a common mess.

Modi got what he likes and he was made the go to man in the media cell. Rajdeep Sardesai in his book on the 2014 elections show the affinity they shared while Modi was in Delhi and Sardesai in NDTV. “I would call Narendrabhai, whenever we were freed of the pleasure of spokespersons of the saffron end. And invariably he would turn up.” The bonhomie which Modi inculcated with the media flagged of humour and light heartedness . On NDTV, in the show “the Big Fight” Modi pitched for the title of Islamic Terrorism. He lambasted Rafiq Zakaria, eminent Islamic scholar and Congress leader.

But there is a caveat or a corollary. Modi even then irrespective of his bonhomie attacked the “pseudo-secular media”. He roared,”It has taken so long for the pseudo secular media of India to acknowledge the existence of Islamic terrorism.” Siddharth Vardarajan, then with TOI also seem to take on the future PM. But Modi, with his rocky eyes seem to come out as the macho speaker in the otherwise sensitive, volatile debate. The charisma only seemed to better itself in the years to come. Interestingly, though Modi had great inhibitions against the left of centre NDTV pattern of media, he approached a person who flaunted himself as nothing but a pseudo-secular.

His name is Vinod Mehta. Modi, to believe the enfante terrible Mehta supplied the editor papers against Keshubhai, who had reportedly failed to carry on effective administration and relief with the Bhuj Earthquake. “The next thing I heard, was that Narendra Modi has become CM in Keshubhai’s place” tells Mehta in his memoir sequel- Editor Unplugged. The conflict between Keshubhai and Modi was well known. But the way the media seemed to have engaged itself as a party to the situation makes an interesting read.

If you consider these initial years of Modi and Media, you will find it a bit mismatched to the reality in the present. Like most politicians on power, Modi is not cushy towards criticism. But the media with its own vigour has reposed little morality, to take a larger ground on ethical magnanimity. The Niira Radia scandal has only proved how hollow journalism as a profession has become. Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Prabhu Chawla as well as Vajpayee son in law Ranjan Bhattacharya are interesting characters in convoluted, power struggle the journos are part of today.

But here lies an antithesis. No politician discovered #Barkhagate as it came to be known on a then relatively new nascent Twitter. It was Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta who exposed the hurly burly of power broking to which a largely self-interest driven media honchos are part of. Media has always been arrogant. Take for instance, what Dileep Padgaonkar said about his profession. “I do the second most important job in the country after that of the Prime Minister” he said, with greater snobbery and lesser self-restraint. However blaming Arnab Goswami is like comparing apples and oranges.

A man who exposed the CWG, 2G, JijaG was threatened to be censored by the erstwhile political dispensation under the Congress. He never budged. So to expect him to stay mum, while our Shiv Sena supported PM candidate (who now is in charge of the Lalit Mess) fails to practise propriety which she preached as LOP is unconvincing. To be intrinsically frank, both the Media and the Modi Government have flaws and favours-both have had their honeymoon. Now, we should look for grounds of ethical governance rather than mudslinging at each other. The cyber army of Modi must also be taught to express restraint, rather than abusing specific journos and celebrities who fail to agree with the Government on a number of issues. To call the Vice President a “jihadi” has to be condemned in the strongest of terms. If the Government fails to do it, voices of dissent must arise. To quote the “Flood of Fire” author, “what is left of free speech, if there is no space of criticism?”

Quota-my country’s political choice


Justice,equality,emancipation,belief-somewhere my life gets dull and lambasted when such heavy utopian phrases scribe in the air. For long, India has bragged of its stance of being the world’s largest democracy. The pulp of the fact being that about 800 days from now my country will go on to celebrate its 70th year of independence-a great feat for a country whose fate to disintegrate was coupled by the western pandits years back. But still,for me the idea seems to portray little of the great republicanism and loktantra we talk about in our addas of Kolkata. The right to vote has been granted to every individual irrespective of class,caste,creed. Even the barometer of religious choice which has produced havoc many a times has not been a factor as far as the right to universal adult franchise is considered. Though the great extra constitutional conscience keeper called Subramanian Swamy has vouched for not giving franchise to the Muslims if they don’t agree to their Hindu ancestry. 
The right to vote and right to education both have been superficially woven utopian verbatim. While children from the age of 6-14 have moulded the socialist pattern born out of the 42nd Amendment,1976-still the cause of creating a democratic nation creates a mental void. While the top institutes boast of meritocracy, typical reservations seems to flow as some kind of dole which a part of the population deserves even after 68 independent springs. While the Prime Minister gives a call for equality,while RaGa talks about farmer suicide,little do we feel obliged to take on the political whims of blatant opportunism and shameful dignity. The story of Ramsay McDonald’s Communal Award in 1932 august was quashed not by logical thinking,but by doubling the number of seats,being British sponsored to the Dalits through the Divide and Rule propaganda. As the country endowed itself the modern methods of liberalistaion and market economy post 1991,the political mileage regarding Quota-logy has remained ecstatic,lively and a cornerstone of controversy.
When my country is talking about facebook and twitter,following pics on Instagram you hear a certain Mayawati bluffing at Devyani Khobragade’s Dalit ancestry. How many of us knew that the controversial diplomat was a dalit before Behenji pitched on the issue? Isn’t that a coveted gesture of spiralling India into the tomb of fissures and aftershocks? The Dalit cause with a greater social base propelled a new political party called Bahujan Samaj Party under Kanshi Ram. The Congress has used this formula of –poor,Muslims and Dalits as a correct thesis in winning elections during the Indira period. Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate and eminent economist moderately attacked the myopic vision of the law makers as far as reservations are concerned. Most often, the candour of caste is taken into general view and consideration. But what about the class? The downtrodden Dalit woman who is labelled as a Dayan in 21st century India-what great prospect can the reservations and quotas paint about her?
Does she understand what reservation stands for? What great locomotive can she be provided so that she can fight against a social evil of indifference and backwardness? How can an educational quota ever help a family which gets displaced from their native village just because they refuted the diktat of discontinuing education? Can a social apartheid ever have a political solution? Aarakshan, a film by Prakash Jha showed how immodesty has crept into the idea of the educational system. The character of Manoj Bajpayi and Saif Ali Khan represented contrasting ideals, contradicting self-interests, but a monologous problem of identification. While the poster reflected the two Indias-50% for the open category and 50% towards the reserved,political onslaught looked inevitable. The Uttar Pradesh Government under Mayawati banned the film. The Badals of Punjab showed little traits of Ranjit Singh’s aggression fearing bloodshed and went for a ban. The Dalit fringes were ecstatic as they shared maximum visual space.
They seemed to boil in the fact that Saif Ali Khan’s royal background was misfit to cast him as a Dalit in a film. The JDU,the party for whom Prakash Jha fights every lok Sabha and loses invariably perhaps should also now critically ruminate-the great Nitish Kumar promoted a Maha Dalit to the post of Chief Ministership not again on the basis of merit or substance but on the account of vote bank politics. The BJP which is very preachy of the fact- Development for all, appeasement for none also is not averse to quota politics. During the period of Rajnath Singh’s stewardship in U.P sub quotas were made to accommodate the less priviledged.The Andhra Government has already made a world record of sorts by having a reservation of 2/3 in the state. The Tamil Nadu Government has reservations based on religion. Though, according to Smriti irani such religious reservations are not permitted in the bylanes of the Constitution. Even the UPA bill on Jat reservation was quashed by the Supreme Court.
Author’s crisp thought: The Delhi University first cut off for the undergraduate students are out. For changing a stream it has recorded a cut off eligibility of 100.75%. When we repent about the fact that not a single university excluding the IIT’s are featuring in the top list of world institutes,we have to blame the quotas and quota-logy for that. Well the Congress did try to implement its 4.5% quota for minorities even in the IIT’s. I will only say what Justice Sachar said post the congress genetical endeavour of dole distribution in the pre-election season 
“Such promises (Reservations) will not help the backward section of minorities. It is like befooling them. These people are making tall claims just to win elections.Instead of promising to give reservations, the government should focus on basic issues of improving administration and governance.”
 

Smriti Irani: empty vessels rattle much….more


Deadlock,revulsion,incompetence,snobbery,arrogance,cryptic-these adjectives summarize how my Human Resource Development Minister has performed in the last one year.When the party with a “difference” talked about a rejuvinated,rebuilt India,we bought their arguments,we bought their views,we bought their oratory,and above all we cultured around Narendra Modi,who was a “chaiwala” challenging the quid-pro-quo and stereo-types plaguing the system for long. The charismatic Tulsi of “Kyunki……” fame presented herself as articulated,humble yet a challenger hard to suppress. Yes,she was the woman who excreted vile on the Vikaas Purush after Godhra,yet she cloaked no apprehensions about admitting her “mistake”. Her great affinity to the Gujarat CM gave her a Rajya Sabha seat. It gave her greater marketing as being Modi’s right hand woman.

Smriti Irani took upon herself as the sole challenger to Sushma Swaraj as the lead female in Modi’s cabinet. What came forward? A typical DNA of enfante horribilis.Both today may slip out of their respected jobs-one for breaching the lakshman-rekha of ethical wisdom,other for allegedly not even being standardized to view the Lakhshman-rekha. Education ministry in the last one year has shown many instances of immaturity and diverse prospects of being cowed down by elements of Nagpur. As the PM was busy giving what now seems to be idealistic, hollow,superficial oratory,the position of Smriti is said to have become untenable. The country definitely deserves a better educational advisor than the short sighted, myopic individual called Dinanath Batra. Incidentally as he preaches on his bigoted history lessons based on hard Hindutva,a modern lady with a past of being a finalist of the leading beauty pageant seems to absorb them with ease and cheese.

As  you saw Smriti Irani cavalcading the BJP attack on the Newshour, you felt the fire that this woman possesses in her belly. You could loath on her sharpness of mind,on the intensity of her political will.Still,she seems to garner utter disappointment. The woman who had the courage to speak up against zealotised Sanjay Nirupam,did not utter a word as Giriraj Singh sang his usual obsolete,nonsense and in particular racist rant against Sonia Gandhi. See the history of see-saws. This same woman stood in the Parliament against Sharad Yadav when he lambasted his innocuous knowledge on busty South Indian woman. No body stood to support her on the floor. When later asked about this indifference of her own Party members in the Parliament,Smriti dodged it off. ‘I am not a Political Cinderella’-she said

If my memory serves me right, in KBC 2nd Season Smriti Irani came with Sakshi Tanwar to play the Amitabh hosted show. There she spoke of how an astrologer through his panditgiri had earlier invalidated her dreams of becoming an actress. Almost a decade later, Smriti Irani went to see an astrologer who to believe the tabloish tone, had predicted one day the HRD Minister will become the head of the state of India-to put it more simply she would be the President of the country. Introducing Sanskrit in place of German seemed to serve little purpose as entire education structure stared at hypermetric funeral. The saffron bumchums for the time being had to retreat. The ego and blatant robbery of humbleness seemed another problem as Smriti went after the secretaries of her department. A senior official in the Government says”Smriti madam,does not allow the officials to settle down. She lectures the secretaries on what they should do and what they should restrain themselves from. She does not like being asked or interrogated”.Smriti Irani reportedly has changed half a dozen bureaucrats from her department.

Coming to lecture part. Even today after being in the political dispensation for 12 years,it seems uncertain which was the institution Smriti can adjudge the title of alma mater to?

“She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School and discontinued further education.[7][8] Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications. In 2004, she submitted that she had obtained a graduate degree in Arts (B.A, 1996) from Delhi University (School of Correspondence); and in 2014, she submitted that she had completed a part of a graduate degree in Commerce (Part I B.Com, 1994) from Delhi University.[9] Furthermore, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written her examination”-this is what Wikipedia says about her educational qualification which seems to crucify the Modi Government lately.

B.A and B.Com don’t really share a honeymoon. A commerce and an Arts Graduate may add well to the documentation of Curriculum Vitae, but twin-in one production is limited till now to ice creams only. School of correspondence also seems to gel rather uneasily with Smriti’s aura. Smriti Irani volatilised the situation to the hilt,when she lambasted about having a degree from Yale University. To believe my eternal vigilance,it was basically a crash course which not only Irani but a host of other MP’s went through in 2013. The leadership programme lasted for 6 days where Irani’s counterpart was TDP’s S Ramesh. Democracy and nuclear non-proliferation were reportedly the topics exercised.How happy would have been my mother had she known a degree is nowadays available from Yale in 6 days!Infact 11 politicians from national and regional political parties participated in the crash course.

Now a Delhi court has found merit in the entire mango pickle surrounding the minister. A case filed by Ahmer Khan,a freelance writer and represented by lawyer KK Manan were successful in patronising the first big setback for the Minister. The otherwise intrinsically frank Smriti, got carried away while being asked about her qualification. Madhu Kishwar,another controversial Modi enthusiast had difficulty in accepting Smriti Irani’s appointment.Well life is not always a Uday chopra film-sometimes applying logic is an obligation more than a necessity.

Author’s crisp thought-Smriti ji try something constructive,rather than only competing in Amethi with the Gandhi scion……..

Yoga,opportunism,criticism and cynicism….


Many call it a delusion,many an illusion. But the Modi Government has dawned on one of the eternal opportunities to cure the world of its maladies. At times, when we live, doesn’t really portray a really exquisite site. Religious opportunism, unwanted quota-isation of the educational ladder throngs as an impediment for the advancement and evolution of a highly youthful nation. In such a position, stretching the hands and grooving your body is a better edible than flexing your muscles to show your might. The Rajpath in New Delhi was a cool observer to what many have already painted as the next big Guinness World Record. Well, Yoga makes your body bubble with joy, offering a plethora of opportunities to rejuvenate your body. Exercises have fructified the logic of “Serving the body is serving God” into a more realisable dream.

The initial yoga centric political onslaught on the bars of religious lines only showed the wrath of narrow-minded orbituary on our everyday life. While the Chinese were welcoming yoga and Ayurveda, we seemed to still harp on the  foreign traits of Vaastu and Fengshui. Not only was it a typical Indian mannerism to scoff at everything indigenous,it also proves the self denial which forces ex czars to seek treatment at Lisbon. The cause of concern lies at once at the role of the opposition in the country. The matter of constructive criticism has been lost in vain for quite a while and neither do I blame anyone but the politicians for that. In fact when you see the gradual transmigration of the land of consensus to that of confrontation,you will not see anyone but the Congress Party responsible for that.

Come to 1975. The year which only plagiarised the lack of tolerance of a so called party of swaraj and independence. In 1929, when the Lahore Congress under Nehru gave a call of purna swaraj,little would others have thought that the same party will proclaim the darkest hours of democracy.If you believe Subramanian Swamy,(the ex Janata Party chief and now a BJP leader) the Cambridge University doesn’t have a record of a certain Rahul Gandhi’s thesis. Hopefully, Jitender Singh Tomar did not buy him a degree from Cambridge-a P.H.D degree if I may add. Even in 2015,when so many countries excluding our fidgety rival is practising yoga,the opposition including the Congress hyper-enthusiasts seems to have a problem. Lalu Yadav’s tweet pic showed a photo of Pandit Nehru and Modi practising yoga with contrasting assignments-something the convicted out on bail RJD leader branded as originality vs plagiarism.

At a moment of national pride, reservations about the present Government is understandable. The Government according to me has failed to typically control the agro crisis and its impact.Fringe elements have been given far more autonomy,than what their anatomy deserves. But to overnight,see everything black even beneath the ultraviolet rays is somewhat farcical. The opposition is there to check the Government,not to break the national pride.Cynicism it is said was one of the major reasons for Amitabh Bachchan’s downfall in the mid 80’s. The superstar that the man was could not prevent his cynic mindset from taking the highway.Big B will point at every film of his saying”Yeh film meri toh nahin chalegi” The moral justification or ethical compensation can never be awarded to the ruling coterie. But when the rulers fight themselves,the message a country is trying to send falls into the hollowness of casualties.

Even the rather confrontationist AAP supremo joined the national cadre of politicians in supervising the innate connection of soul and body. Siddaramaiah applauded the Modi Government gesture. The Karnataka Government will soon accomadate yoga in the educational schedule. However Tarun Gogoi and Oomen Chandy evaded a direct consensus.Even Pythagoras deserves a bit of exercise. E=mc2 of Einstein will not assault Robert Vadra,if RaGa exercises his mind a bit. At the end of the day,it’s the cerebrum which Rahul needs to concentrate on after throwing  husky fire balls at the Modi Government regarding the Food Park in Amethi. Perhaps,yoga can modify his fitness to take on Harsimrat Kaur Badal on the issue on the floor of Parliament. What at this juncture,we require is positive and sensible criticism,not opportunistic,downright, Frankenstein surrogate. Politics should be debated,but lets life be celebrated. Yogi Adityanath ji-yoga can also perform Mentos’ job-Zubaan pe rakhe Laagam……. You may try it once also. Good for your health!

And a last bit anecdote. Muslims and christians are being diverted from the course by somebody. Let’s not break,when actually we can make…..